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Citing their religious and political views, AG seeks disqualification of 2 parole board members

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Office of Attorney General John O'Connor
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John O'Connor is sworn in as Oklahoma Attorney General by Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice John Kane at the state capitol on July 23, 2021.

Oklahoma Attorney General John O'Connor is asking the Oklahoma Supreme Court to disqualify two members of the state pardon and parole board for the upcoming clemency hearings of two death row inmates, including high profile prisoner Julius Jones.

In a brief filed Monday, O'Connor alleges Luck behaved improperly when he received social media messages of support from Jones' advocates and retweeted a post about Jones by Kim Kardashian West. O'Connor also claims Luck is not sufficiently setting aside his religious beliefs and his personal interpretation of the Bible when considering board business.

O'Connor claims Doyle is "openly hostile to prosecutors" and has "political beliefs which she refuses to leave at the door when she enters Board meetings."  

The filings come less than a week after O'Connor told Oklahoma City's News 9 that he believed members of the board were "entitled to have their own opinions" and that he believed the board to be "functioning as it should."

O'Connor, who also raised issues of financial motivations that he alleges make Doyle and Luck unable to be impartial, filed with the court the same day it ruled 7-0 to reject Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater's request for the same disqualification of Doyle and Luck in the Jones clemency hearing, which is scheduled for Tuesday.

Luck and Doyle were both appointed to the board by Gov. Kevin Stitt. O'Connor is also a Stitt appointee. In September, Stitt rejected the parole board's recommendation that Jones' death sentence be commuted, saying he preferred to wait for his clemency hearing.

Jones has long maintained his innocence in the 1999 killing of Edmond businessman Paul Howell, and his case has been the subject of significant media attention and celebrity support. 

O'Connor is also seeking to have Luck and Doyle disqualified from participating in next week's clemency hearing for Bigler Stouffer, convicted of a 1985 murder in Oklahoma City.

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